CORONAVIRUS is overwhelming Ecuador as bodies are left to rot in the street while the morgues are totally full with corpses.
Government officials claim 400 bodies have been recovered over the last few days in the port city of Guayaquil, the highest hit city in the country.
Guayaquil resident Hector Galarza speculated many of the dead piling up in the streets are likely to be the city’s poor.
He said the bodies are generating a “panic” as they are ravaged by Covid-19.
Reporters from Reuters news agency saw a man’s body lying on a pavement beneath a blue plastic sheet.
Police said the man collapsed while waiting to enter a store, but his cause of death was not confirmed.
After several hours of laying unclaimed in the street – he was finally removed by the authorities.
Mayor Viteri promised that unclaimed bodies will now be placed in three refrigerated cargo containers.
City officials are also looking at plans for a new cemetery – but denied rumours it will be a mass grave.
The local government insisted all the dead would receive a “Christian burial”.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
And despite being sick with the virus, Mayor Viteri insisted she will continue to work to “protect Guayaquilenos in a moment as difficult as this one”.
She said: “I will be where I am and how I am.
“Don’t leave your houses, protect the elderly and the weakest, and take care of each other.”
Ecuador reported its first known coronavirus case on February 29, a 70-year-old woman who had arrived from Italy – she died two weeks later.
President Lenin Moreno attempted to place restrictions on travel, and the country’s borders were sealed on March 16.
Guayaquil however was reportedly slow to follow the advice, dependent on its bustling open markets and trade.
Two weeks ago, city vehicles were used to block the landing of a KLM flight which had been dispatched by governments in Europe.
It was attempting to fly in and rescue citizens left stranded by travel restrictions.
Eventually, the plane finally landed in Quito, the capital, where 170 foreign citizens boarded for a return flight to Amsterdam.
Last week, Ecuadors health and labor minister Catalina Andramuno resigned just hours after announcing a massive spike in cases.
Health workers had complained they lacked supplies to properly tend to those infected.
Ms Andramuno toured public hospitals to reassure staff just days before she quit.
Kagame’s son appointed to board of Rwanda’s investment agency
A son of President Paul Kagame has been appointed to the board of the Rwanda Development Board, RDB. 30-year-old Ivan Kagame is the eldest son of his parents. The Kagames have four children – three sons and a daughter.
The RDB is government machinery tasked with fast tracking the country’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. The US-educated Ivan joins as one of four new members announced by the Prime Minister’s office earlier this week.
In welcoming the new members, the board wrote about the young Kagame “Ivan Kagame is a partner at a Venture Capital fund, and co-founder of a leading energy company.
“Ivan brings a diverse skill set and vast experience in investment advisory services, entrepreneurship and investments management both in Africa and the USA. He holds a Bsc in Economics from Pace university and an MBA from the Marshall School at the University of Southern California.”
The other new members were: Solange Uwituze, Eric Kacou and Liban Soleman Abdi. They join a board currently headed by Itzhak Fisher with vice chair Evelyn Kamagaju, a former Auditor General of Rwanda. Diane Karususi, Faith Keza and Alice Nkulikiyinka complete the list of serving members.
RDB is behind high-profile sponsorship deals with English Premier League side Arsenal and French side Paris Saint-Germain – both deals under the “Visit Rwanda” label is to promote tourism in the East African nation.
RDB’s website describes its mission: “To transform Rwanda into a dynamic global hub for business, investment, and innovation.”
It pools all the government agencies responsible for the entire investor experience under one roof. It reports directly to the president and is guided by a board that includes all relevant sector ministers.
It is modeled on international best practice examples of Singapore and Costa Rica. It has advisory and hands-on support from global entrepreneurs and experts from Singapore Development Board, World Bank, IFC and the Office of Tony Blair.
Trump designates houses of worship as essential, orders US governors to reopen them NOW
US President Donald Trump has declared that churches, synagogues and mosques are ‘essential’ establishments. He ordered governors to allow them to reopen immediately, and threatened to override them if they refuse.
“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united,” Trump announced at the White House on Friday, adding that it’s “not right” that some states have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but mandated that houses of worship remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Any governor that has a problem with this can call the president, but will not find understanding, Trump added. If the governors refuse to allow the houses of worship to reopen immediately, this very weekend, “I will override the governors,” he said.
In America, we need more prayer, not less.
Nigerian-based scammers “clean” New York coffers amidst Covid-19 pandemic
As jobless figures skyrocket during the coronavirus pandemic, officials in Washington State may have lost “hundreds of millions of dollars” to fraudsters filing bogus unemployment claims – all the way from Nigeria.
Washington’s monthly unemployment report, released on Wednesday, made for grim reading. The Evergreen State’s unemployment rate has tripled since March, with nearly a third of the labor force applying for welfare – the highest in the nation.
Now, officials in Olympia have admitted that many of these claims were fraudulent, and that state coffers have been cleaned out by scammers based in Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Employment Security Department (ESD) Commissioner Suzan LeVine didn’t admit exactly how much money the crafty Nigerians had gotten away with, only that it was “orders of magnitude above” the $1.6 million her department lost to fraud last month.
LeVine’s admission came a week after the Secret Service circulated a memo warning of a “well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.” Washington was named as the “primary state targeted,” while the report also warned of “attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida.” Potential losses, the Secret Service claimed, could amount to “hundreds of millions.”
Nearly everyone with an email address has gotten the infamous ‘Nigerian prince’ email at some point. Designed to fool only the most gullible, the ‘prince’ claims to have inherited a vast fortune, but for reasons unknown he can’t access it without paying a small fee to a Swiss bank, or something equally implausible. The unfortunate mark sends the prince this fee, and never sees their share of the fortune.
The criminals who targeted Washington were a little more sophisticated. According to the Secret Service memo, the scammers had access to lists of social security numbers and other personal information, gleaned through identity theft. Armed with this information, they set about filing claims online, using in-state “mules” to receive the cash and forward it on to Nigeria.
Washington was likely targeted due to its relatively generous welfare system, and due to the fact that it paid out claims filed since March in lump sums in recent weeks. Furthermore, the sheer volume of claims submitted during the coronavirus crisis meant that the ESD was not examining them as thoroughly as usual.
One claim, filed in Washington and sent to a “mule” in Oklahoma, amounted to $29,000, cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs reported. To the scammer sitting behind a computer screen in Lagos or Abuja, $29,000 is a bonanza. A Nigerian working full-time can only hope to earn around $550 per year.
Admitting you’ve been conned is a hard thing to do, even by a sophisticated criminal network. Nevertheless, LeVine attempted to spin the news positively on Thursday, boasting that her department has strengthened its security in recent days.
“We do have definitive proof that the countermeasures we have put in place are working,” she said. “We have successfully prevented hundreds of millions of additional dollars from going out to these criminals and prevented thousands of fraudulent claims from being filed.”
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